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AmericanWest bank reports loss, stabilization

AmericanWest Bancorporation on Thursday reported a third-quarter loss but progress toward stabilizing operations at the Spokane-based institution.

The loss was $28.4 million, or $1.65 a share, compared with a third-quarter 2008 loss of $10.5 million, or 61 cents a share.

Much of the 2009 loss was an $18.9 million noncash write-off of goodwill booked when AmericanWest purchased banks in the Tri-Cities and Utah. Goodwill is the premium paid above market price with the expectation the new assets will earn back the difference.

The bank had loans of $1.37 billion on the books as of Sept. 30, down 16 percent from $1.62 billion a year earlier. Deposits were down less than 1 percent year over year, to $1.24 billion.

The provision for loan losses was $9 million, one-third the level of a year ago, while nonperforming assets remained stable at $156.4 million.

“Our current outlook is for continued asset quality improvement during the fourth quarter of 2009 and into 2010,” Chief Executive Officer Pat Rusnak said.

AmericanWest remains short of regulator-mandated capital levels by $109 million, but Rusnak said the quarterly results should give the bank an edge against other banks also seeking new investment.

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